Eighteen months ago, with a two year old that disliked sleep and a two month old that fed around the clock, if you had asked me if I'd ever consider voluntarily getting up at 6am, I would have taken the dirty muslin cloth off my shoulder and hit you with it. On the very, very odd occasion that neither boy wanted or needed anything before the clock struck six, you wouldn't have moved me from the comfort of my bed for heaven and earth ... not even for a chocolate orange or a box of After Eights (both true loves of mine).
How times have changed.
While the boys may wake up in the night now and again, it's rare to see their sleepy bedheads before 7am (unless rudely awoken by their thunder-footed father leaving for work at an ungodly hour). But, for the past couple of months, once, sometimes twice a week, my alarm has been set for 6am and I'm out of the door for ten past.
So what prompted this craziness?
Or more to the point, chocolate weight.
I was one of those gullible fools who fell for the myth that if you breastfeed, you can eat whatever you like. Or maybe, whoever initially came up with that 'fact' hadn't anticipated 'whatever you like' being interpreted as a kilo of chocolate per day.
So, carrying a little over ten percent excess cocoa content, the only solution has been to give up half an hour's sleep and pound the pavements instead. I say pound but in reality it's more like a run/walk/skip kind of movement. Not very elegant and I'm not about to win any marathon medals but I'm quite proud of the fact that after nearly ten years of little to no exercise, I can now manage thirty minutes before collapsing in a heap on the kitchen floor.
And moreover, what originally started off as a chore and simply a means to an end, has actually become one of my favourite things. I'm finding comfort in the repetitive motion of putting one foot in front of the other with just my breathing or occasionally Florence and the Machine for company. I adore roaming the countryside before most of the world has opened their curtains; it feels like my own private park. And I'm revelling in the fact that I'm eight pounds down already and am determined that the other eight will be off before Christmas. Those size 12 skinny jeans are firmly in my sights now.
But mostly, I love witnessing the change from day to night and the beautiful blue of the sky as it waves goodbye to the moon and welcomes the sun. And yes, needing to take a photograph is also wonderful excuse to stop and draw breath. Before continuing with my run/walk/skip.